Here is a short list of questions to ask a potential financial adviser, to make sure you select the right financial guide.

There are many well-qualified advisers who still think investment is a skill not a process and it is better to weed those out first. The following questions are more about the adviser’s process and client service:

1. “Can I see the process you go through to take on a new client?”

This should provide a step-by-step guide to each stage of the process and should include a minimum of three meetings before any money is invested.

2. “How do you asses my attitude to investment risk and how does this translate into the portfolio you recommend?”

Most good advisers use detailed risk profile questionnaires with some fifty questions on them to ensure they are robust. The adviser should be clear that this is just to give an indication of your natural tolerance to risk: merely the starting point for a discussion on risk.

The eventual risk you take will be informed by the return required for you to achieve your goals, which will be calculated by the cash flow model.

Very often there is a mismatch between the risk you are prepared to take and the risk you need to take, and this should be openly discussed as a core function of the financial process.

3. “How will my plan be reviewed?”

This should be at least annually but may be half-yearly. Some advisers do an investment review once a year and a separate financial planning and/or life planning review also once a year with the two six months apart. You should expect to be contacted before the review meeting for updated financial information, such as changes to income or expenditure or cash in the bank. You should also be given the opportunity to forewarn the adviser of any scenarios you may wish to discuss (such as moving downmarket, buying a second home, going on a cruise, helping children/grandchildren, changing job, etc.) so that when you meet your adviser your financial plan and cash flow are up to date and the implications of any proposed changes ready to be discussed.

You should be clear how the performance of your investments will be judged each year. Find out when rebalancing will occur. All meetings should have a formal agenda and minutes taken with follow-up action points to keep everything on track.


We hope these three questions help in your selection process. You’ll find more information on how to identify the right financial guide in Chapter 6 of The 7 Secrets of Money.